Editor’s Note: 2022 certainly promises to be another news-filled year, from a continued fight against COVID-19 to a debate over whether Buckhead should break off from Atlanta. Reporter Newspapers surveyed local leaders to hear what they think will be the biggest issues in the next 12 months. 

Malaika Rivers, Executive Director, Chamblee Doraville CID

2022 is determined to be quite a year. For businesses, labor shortages, supply chain issues, cost of materials and pandemic-related health concerns will continue into 2022 and impact all of us. Communities supporting certain sectors and commercial real estate product types like multifamily, logistics, and industrial will continue to do well while others have challenges ahead (retail, enclosed malls, hospitality). E-commerce is going to double in the coming years and those lifestyle habits are going to dramatically reshape communities.

Passage of the trillion dollar federal infrastructure bill presents major opportunities all the way down to the community level. Public-private partnerships are the name of the game as it allows dollars to stretch further. Much of the money will repair aged infrastructure but the feds also intend to push the needle on innovation. Communities focused on building the brainpower to meet the growing demand for electrification, for instance, are well positioned. There is also money available to correct infrastructure put in place decades ago that cleaved neighborhoods. Understanding the opportunities and tapping into them could be transformative.

Politics is also always on the table. If Buckhead succeeds and forms its own city that will have major consequences. Metro Atlanta’s collective ability to attract and retain companies is our lifeblood and carving out a new city, essentially along racial lines, would be destructive on so many levels. That, combined with the divisive tenor of political rhetoric so prevalent today, will make for a wild ride in statewide races and midterm elections in 2022.

Malaika Rivers

Malaika Rivers is the Executive Director of the Chamblee Doraville CID